Chapter 12 Continued from Chapter 11
“Words taught by the Spirit” (1Cor.2:13)
An Email Ministry for the Glory of God
A series of Bible studies on
SALVATION IN CHRIST
THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
PART B’: Which believer risks losing his salvation… (#3)
DANGERS OF LOSING ONE’S SALVATION: Case Studies…
Now we will examine certain other cases:
8. Examples of “believers” who apparently lost their salvation
Should we forget that even in the church of the first century there were people like Demas (2Tim.4:10), Ananias and Sapphira (Act.5:1)? Let us examine these two examples:
- Do you believe that Demas – one of Paul’s fellow laborers – was not a believer? Here is what the Bible says about Demas: “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed to Thessalonica…” (2Tim.4:10). Can we say that he had given his whole heart to God since he had loved this present world? We conclude, therefore, that he was not of us: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1John 2:19). Was his heart upright? If his heart was upright, would not God have taken him under His protection? “My defense is of God, which saves the upright in heart” (Ps.7:10)! Have we ever read what is written in Psalm 145:20 that “The Lord preserves all them that love Him…”?
Demas was a believer and was working together with Paul in God’s work! He probably knew that the time of Paul’s departure was at hand as a martyr (2Tim.4:6). Demas… did what he did probably either because he was afraid that he would also lose his life and die as a martyr or because “…the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things had entered in, choked the word, and it became unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). We do not know the real reason but a question can be put without any hesitation: Did he love God with all his heart? Had he really decided to take up his cross and follow Christ? Did he present his whole being as a living sacrifice to God? Was he a man of one mind and of one purpose to serve God’s will? Was his heart pure while in the depth of his being there was a hidden desire for the present world? Was he not infected by the love for this present world (2Tim.4:10)? Was he not nevertheless considered as a true “Christian” since he was one of Paul’s collaborators? Was he really saved?
Someone could raise the objection or supposition that we do not have the right to believe that Demas was ultimately lost, although the way Paul wrote about Demas does not give us space for speculations. That objection is based on the fact that we, as human beings, we do not know the heart of man and his future. Consequently, Demas, before dying, even at his last breath, might have sincerely regretted and sincerely repented for his act and might have been saved.
Maybe, someone else could say, that it happened exactly what had happened in the case of John surnamed Mark, whom Paul did not think good to take with them, because he had departed from them and did not go with them to the ministry but whom Barnabas wanted. However, the cases of Demas and Mark had not the same motivation! Finally, Mark, after some time, became again associate of Paul as he changed his attitude (Col.4:10, 2Tim.4:11, Philm.1:24).
What is the opinion of the reader?
- What about Ananias and Sapphira? What was hidden in their hearts? Would they have done what they did if they had loved God with all their heart, passed through the narrow gate, taken up their cross and followed Christ? Were they guided by the Spirit of God? If they did love God as they ought to, that is to say, if they had responded to THE CONDITIONS WHICH CHRIST DEMANDED, would they have ever committed that terrible act of insincerity and hypocrisy? What was their end?
The Word of God was proved to be, once again, true: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1John 2:19). In reality, they had been “expelled” from God’s family because of a lie against the PERSON of the Holy Spirit, one of the persons of the DEITY! What does this event mean to us? Were they not “Christians”? The same verse also means that if one is a true child of God, he would never go out or be expelled from the family of God (John 8:35)! Simple mathematics!
9. “The dog which is turned to his own vomit again”…
Peter, the apostle, declared, “For if AFTERthey have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, AFTER they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2Pet.2:20-22). Such ‘believers’, such ‘Christians’, ARE THEY GOING TO BE SAVED?
I strongly recommend my readers to read the entire second chapter of the second epistle of the Apostle Peter for a better understanding of these verses. Question: Had they just been informed about the Christian life, just been affected by the virtues of the Christian life and simply avoided some defects and bad habits of their old life, but had not been truly regenerated? Perhaps! It would be also good to compare the chapter in question with Heb.10:26 and Heb.6:4-8. We may be helped:
- “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins” (Heb.10:26).
- “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes oft on it, and brings forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is near to cursing; whose end is to be burned” (Heb.6:4-8).
Why were they entangled in the pollutions of this world? What was hidden in the depths of their heart? Why, after having known the way of righteousness, after they were once enlightened, after having tasted of the heavenly gift, after they were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, after having tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, why THEN they fell away, and they entangled again in the pollutions of this world? Were they not counted as ‘believers’? Of course! All cases of perdition are not identical. They differ! The third group of the parable of the Sower and the case of the man that sins willfully as well as the “weak” brother, who is brought to perdition on account of the bad conduct of another “strong” brother, differ! ONLY GOD knows the heart. Only God knows those who are His, who belong to Him. We, weak and fallible human beings, are not permitted to draw conclusions about a man’s heart… and the reason of their perdition! We cannot speculate on the things of God! “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God » (Heb.10:31). Certain people compare this passage with Luke 11:24-26. Are they right? Judge for yourselves! Anyway, let the fear of God enter into us!
10. “Believers” but who “walk disorderly…”
The Bible also says:
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal.5:19-21). The epistle of Paul to the Galatians was addressed to believers! Neither to heathen nor to idolaters! He tells them that such people are not going to inherit God’s kingdom. This statement should be combined with Mt.15:19; Eph.5:3-6; Col.3:5,6 and especially with 2Cor.12:20-21, which reads as follows: “For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found to you such as you would not: lest there be debates, contentions, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, arrogance, tumults: And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall mourn many which HAVE SINNED ALREADY, AND HAVE NOT REPENTED of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed” (2Cor.12:20-21). Let me repeat what I have already written in a previous chapter: The adulterer of Corinth was forgiven and continued his Christian life because he repented! The proof of his repentance we read in Paul’s words: “[…] lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow”. (2Cor.2:7). What was going to happen if he did not repent? Consequently, IF we do not confess our sins for which our conscience accuses us, WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN? Consequently, ATTENTION! DANGER…
God’s commandment is, anyway, clear: “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. […] And if any man obey not our word by this letter, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed” (2Thess.3:6, 14) (Also: 1Cor.5:11and Gal.5:19-21).
From whom should we withdraw ourselves?
Who do you mourn for? For the dead or for the living?
To be continued…